With only two main ingredients, a gin and tonic cocktail may be simple to make, but mimicking the complexity of the gin in a virgin version is a challenge. To capture the spirit’s trademark bitter and herbal flavors, we infused nonalcoholic white wine with fresh lemon peel and the spices juniper, coriander, and anise. Mix this infusion with tonic water and a wedge of lime or lemon and you’ll swear you’re drinking the real thing.
What to buy: Nonalcoholic or dealcoholized wines are produced by removing the alcohol from fermented grape juice, but they do contain a minuscule percentage of alcohol. They can be found at well-stocked liquor stores or online.
Game plan: This recipe makes 2 cups of the nonalcoholic white wine infusion, which is enough to make 8 Virgin Gin and Tonics. The infusion can be refrigerated in a covered container for up to 1 month.
Also, this recipe calls for the use of juniper berries, which pregnant women should avoid.
Place the juniper, coriander, and anise in a small frying pan over medium heat and toast, shaking the pan occasionally, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove to a medium bowl.
Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the lemon and add it to the bowl. Add the wine and stir to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 3 hours or refrigerate for up to 1 day.
When the mixture’s done infusing, set a fine-mesh strainer over a pint jar and strain the infused wine into the jar. Discard the contents of the strainer. Use the infusion immediately or seal the jar and refrigerate it for up to 1 month.
For the drink:
Place an Old Fashioned glass in the freezer to chill for 5 minutes.
Fill the chilled glass halfway with ice and add 2 ounces of the nonalcoholic white wine infusion. Gently rub the lemon or lime wedge along the rim of the glass, then squeeze and drop it into the glass. Top with the tonic water, gently stir to incorporate, and serve immediately. Refrigerate the remaining wine infusion for up to 1 month.